According to this article on the Huffington Post researchers at South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University have developed the technology to covert soundwaves into electrical energy.
The technology has the potential to charge your phone as you talk into it. Even background noise could turn into power for your phone.
Here’s how it works:
“Currently, the researchers have created a prototype that converts sounds around 100 decibels (think: noisy traffic) to 50 millivolts of electricity. Here’s how it works: a pad absorbs sound waves and causes zinc oxide wires mounted between electrodes to compress and release, creating an electrical current that can be used to charge a battery.”
Whilst the energy produced isn’t enough to charge a phone (yet), it is still usable in small, implantanable devices. The aim is to alter the materials to generate more electricity at lower sound levels.
This follows on from the story that scientists are developing nanotechnology that uses body movement to generate power that could potentially be used in iPods and the like.